Book reading and discussion with Dr. Shaylih Muehlmann
The Peter Wall Institute invites you to join us for a book reading and discussion with Dr. Shaylih Muehlmann, UBC Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Language, Culture and the Environment.
This is a free event open to UBC Faculty and guests. No RSVP is required. Cash beer, wine and tapas availiable.
When I Wear My Alligator Boots examines how the lives of dispossessed men and women are affected by the rise of narcotrafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border. In particular, the book explores a crucial tension at the heart of the “war on drugs”: despite the violence and suffering brought on by drug cartels, for the rural poor in Mexico’s north, narcotrafficking offers one of the few paths to upward mobility and is a powerful source of cultural meanings and local prestige.
In the borderlands, traces of the drug trade are everywhere: from gang violence in cities to drug addiction in rural villages, from the vibrant folklore popularized in the narco-corridos of Norteña music to the icon of Jesús Malverde, the “patron saint” of narcos, tucked beneath the shirts of local people. In When I Wear My Alligator Boots, the author explores the everyday reality of the drug trade by living alongside its low-level workers, who live at the edges of the violence generated by the militarization of the war on drugs. Rather than telling the story of the powerful cartel leaders, the book focuses on the women who occasionally make their sandwiches, the low-level businessmen who launder their money, the addicts who consume their products, the mules who carry their money and drugs across borders, and the men and women who serve out prison sentences when their bosses' operations go awry.
From the inside Flap:
"This book is a rare gem. In contrast to today's often overheated and sensationalized accounts of "drug cartels" and "kingpins," Shaylih Muehlmann instead draws our attention to the too-often overlooked stories of the ordinary people at the margins of the drug economy in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Through fearless ethnographic research, she exposes the real "trenches" of the drug war along the border."—Peter Andreas, author of Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America
“This is an outstanding book . . . deeply moving in parts and simply fascinating in others. It makes clear interventions, but in a language that a general readership would enjoy even as scholars will assign this book in their classes.”—Alexander Dawson, author of First World Dreams: Mexico Since 1989
“This work provides an original and incredibly important contribution to a wide body of literature on the drug war, and particularly the escalation of drug war violence over the past decade.”—Adrienne Pine, author of Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras
Peter Wall Ideas Lounge, University Centre, Room 157, UBC, 6331 Crescent Road